Santosh Patnaik

Project runs into rough weather with the backing out of two strategic partners

VISAKHAPATNAM: With general elections due early next year and the talk on possibility of advancing it anytime, the Hinduja Group is reportedly making last-ditch effort to revive its jinxed power project near Revada in Visakhapatnam district.

Having laid the foundation stone for its 1,040 MW power project way back in 1994, the group has already sent its top brass to Hyderabad to discuss with Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy last year. Sources said efforts are on to get an appointment again while continuing its lobbying in the corridors of power in New Delhi so as to get the clearances for the project’s revival. The project was dropped, for all practical purposes, with the company failing to do anything after it got possession of 1,100 acres and paid a part of amount towards advance at the rate of Rs.2.25 lakhs a year. Later due to criticism over high unit cost, the State Government allotted a part of the land earmarked for Hinduja project to NTPC Simhadri to expand its capacity.

Equity partners

The Hinduja project had run into rough weather before the foundation stone itself with its strategic partners Mission Energy of US and National Power Plc. of UK backing out.

The Hindujas, who want to take up work on 1,040 MW coal-fired power plant with an investment of nearly Rs.5,000 crores and later double its capacity, is also exploring various options to find out equity partners from Japan and Europe.

Sources said the company wants to claim that the project has not been rescinded by them and they want to take possession of the land at the old rate notwithstanding the fact that the city and its neighbourhood have seen real estate boom on a scale which baffled many corporate realtors.

A retired IAS officer who served in the Ministry of Power, said that there was no moral right for Hindujas to stake claim over the land after having gone back on their commitment to set up a power plant.

NTPC Simhadri, for strategic reasons, also wants that the vacant land should be allotted to it so that it could use it for meeting its requirement in future.